In the world, but not of the world

Published 8:46 am Monday, February 21, 2022

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: I was trying to explain to my grandchildren what it means to be in the world but not of the world, and I’m ashamed that I really couldn’t find the right words. Is there a clear answer? — W.C.

Dear W.C.: The Gulf Stream is in the ocean, but it’s not a part of it. Believers are in the world, but they must not be absorbed by it. The Gulf Stream maintains its warm temperatures even in the icy water of the North Atlantic. If Christians are to fulfill their purposes in the world, they must not be chilled by the indifferent, godless society in which they live. Much of our talk as Christians is worldly, not spiritual. It’s easy to fall into conformity of the world and spend time discussing politics, the latest gadget, or entertainment. We often forget that our interests should be on the things of Heaven, and not exclusively on earthly things.
For instance, Jesus dined with the publicans and sinners, but He seized every opportunity to present a spiritual truth and to lead a lost soul to what counts, forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation in Him alone. Christians are never to conform to the world socially. The world tries to absorb us into its secular society and to conform us to its earthly image, but Christ tells us not to conform. We must pray that God will strengthen us in all that we do in His Name so that the world does not influence us in their ways, but that we influence others in the ways of God.
Our social contacts should be pleasant, and we should also be looking for opportunities to share our faith with those who do not yet know Christ. This is why Jesus said, “Come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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